Smoke In The Room: Emily Maguire

Here is a smokescreen in a sunlit city, a place where cheap beer and primal sex preclude sleep and grief. American Adam dreams of his dead wife, Katie screws to ward off madness, and Graeme isolates himself in the past. Maguire draws these flawed characters with such care we wonder who will snap first. It’s through their apathy, selfishness and sheer magnitude of despair that we see the true grit of life.

Maguire is in thrall with Sydney and is as proud of the place as the dead Eugenie. While the city’s grime and underside is exposed belly-up, the minds of its characters remain foggy and confused. Their imaginations allow them to transcend the present and decide to stay in a room where blind love is one thing, but being seen and loved is another. Beneath the smoke lie layers of ideas about life’s fragility, the threat of insanity and the solace of death.